N is for Noelle Hampton. Noelle is pretty new to me - I've only seen her perform a couple of times but I'll definitely be checking her out some more in 2010. She's done the Lilith Fair thing, opened for Dylan and Wilco, had her struggles with the music business, and is now in Austin, with a splendid new record Thin Line.
O is for The Belleville Outfit. This six-piece from Austin released their second album - Time To Stand - this year and have been playing out across the country to promote it. While it's easy to focus on talented lead singer and violinist Phoebe Hunt, fact is that this is a group effort with all of them bringing it on, and contributing to live shows that you'll enjoy much and remember for a long time.
P is for Photographers. I am constantly in awe of what can be achieved by someone who knows how to work a camera, and very pleased that several of them allow me to leverage their talent for this blog. So thanks and kudos to Ed Verosky, John Grubbs, Todd Wolfson and Valerie Fremin in Austin, and to Lauren Jonik in NYC.
Q is for Quiet Company. Another Austin band that is fairly new to me, is rock/powerpop combo Quiet Company. This year they released their debut Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon, and they've been packing out the likes of The Parish and Stubbs. Check out their video ...
Quiet Company - "On Modern Men" - Music Video from Digital Shakedown on Vimeo.
R is for Ruby Jane Smith. Just turned 15, prodigiously-talented Austinite Ruby Jane is already an established entertainer, joining the likes of Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Bob Schneider and Mark O'Connor in live performances. A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, actress, model, there are probably few musical doors that will remain closed to Ruby, though she apparently wants to study astrophysics as a university subject. The first fiddle show in outer space? I wouldn't bet against it. More on Ruby here.
And R is also for The Ramblers, Rock Star Bagels and Rich Girls, RIP. Oh, and it's also for Rockwood Music Hall, still the best music venue in NYC.
S is for Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. If you think there's a more entertaining live act in NYC, you're mistaken. Hopefully 2010 will see the full release of their album and some real promotion for this likable, popular and talented combo, the brainchild of leader Arleigh Kincheloe.
Also worth mentioning is The Swell Season, now touring to support their wonderful sophomore album, Strict Joy.
T is for The Tiny Tin Hearts. TTTH is an eight piece Austin rock orchestra, adding the likes of banjo, cello, french horn, trombone, trumpet and violin to a core bass, drums, keys and guitar. Add to that the storytelling nature of their songs - featured on their debut Last Flight of the Martyr Aviator - and live you have an amazing experience, rather than just a great gig. More on TTTH here.
Concluding with U to Z tomorrow ...